INC Research leaders tell us why they dedicate their life to the vital matter of clinical research

Christine Phillips, PhD
Senior Director, Site and Patient Access
May 4, 2017

Each year, hundreds of thousands of clinical trials are ongoing or underway. In fact, in the first four months of 2017 alone, the number of clinical studies registered has already surpassed the total number registered in 2016, according to However, despite the significant breadth and depth of clinical research taking place around the globe, many people don’t know the important impact these studies have on patients every day.

Each of us has our own reason(s) for becoming involved in clinical trials. I’ve seen the benefits of this kind of research from both a personal perspective as a former trial participant, as well as being a professional whose job is to lead patient engagement and awareness efforts at INC Research.

As you can imagine, it’s been very gratifying for me to take part in Clinical Trials Awareness Week with other INC employees through our corporate awareness campaign, #CTAW2017 - a week-long slate of activities designed to spread the word about the value of clinical trials to the health and well-being of society.

All week long, organizations throughout the world have celebrated the unsung heroes who are making new, innovative medical treatments a reality: clinical trial researchers and patient volunteers.

Below are thoughts from some of our INC leaders about the importance of clinical trials and why they’ve chosen clinical research as their life’s work.

I have committed my entire medical career to the study and development of new therapies for unmet medical needs. Without clear evidence of safety, efficacy, and clinical benefit, there are no new medicines. Clinical trials are the way that we demonstrate this evidence, and helping people understand the importance of participating in trials is critical for all of us. – Judith Ng-Cashin, MD; Chief Scientific Officer

Helping to bring a drug to market is more than just conducting business. It is seeing a person’s life, and often also their family’s life, change. Working in a devastating disease such as Alzheimer’s, which I experienced personally in losing my mom last year, drives home the importance of what we do and the effect we can have. I never want to forget why I do this: the chance to truly affect people’s lives by giving them opportunities for care and treatment they might not otherwise have. – Tom Zoda, Ph.D.; Executive Vice President and General Manager, Clinical Development, CNS

I'm personally motivated by bringing novel science to patients with life-threatening disease. For patients with cancer, the continued innovations in immunotherapy and targeted therapies offer the potential to receive ground-breaking therapies and to enjoy a longer life with their loved ones. – Susan Akers-Smith; Senior VP, Global Oncology and Hematology

The world’s medical community has so much left to understand about how diseases and treatments affect different people at different times and in different ways. The clinical trial process and its results further this understanding. In addition, clinical trials advance the care of people diagnosed with terrible diseases and disorders, and often lead to improved treatments with the possibility of fewer side effects. It’s about safely bringing life-improving and life-saving therapies to people around the world. – Mark Beratz; Interim Head of Global Human Resources

My dad gave me a valuable piece of advice: seek a career which you feel is rewarding and you enjoy. I have done that being involved in clinical research for nearly 25 years. Clinical trials are important to me because I believe they are the cornerstone of progress with disease treatment and prevention. It is incredibly rewarding being on the forefront of improving and extending people's lives. – Marty Anderson; Executive Director, Clinical Development, Infectious Diseases

I think clinical trials are important because not a week goes by that I don’t hear or read about someone suffering from cancer. Recent scientific breakthroughs in immuno-oncology hold so much promise for patients and their families, but we need well-designed, patient-centric clinical trials to understand the benefits and risks these new treatment options can provide to those in need.  – Jim Wahl; Senior Director, Clinical Development, Oncology and Hematology

About the author
I am Senior Director, Site and Patient Access, INC Research. Having worked at pharmaceutical companies, CROs, and the NHS, I have expertise across the whole clinical product development life cycle.  I am responsible for the strategic planning, development, implementation, and maintenance of clinical trials at INC Research. I have previous experience in supporting marketing authorization applications, health technology assessments, and research grant applications, as well as developing and delivering internal training packages.